Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Beast From The East

We may not have had any significant snow fall here in East Devon yet (that is about to change!) but like elsewhere we have had freezing temperatures and that bitter east wind. It's been seriously cold...

Black Hole Marsh pre-dawn on Tuesday

A 100% frozen Black Hole Marsh on Tuesday

Even the Estuary has had icy edges this week

More Estuary ice

Lower Bruckland Ponds today

Bird-wise we have seen the expected increase in wildfowl and wader numbers, which I will summarise below, but my highlight of the week so far is a passerine. I haven't seen Bearded Tit on patch since Oct '13, so a series of 'pings' emanating from the vast Axe Reedbed this morning, followed by brief flight views of one bird, was a real treat. Only the third time I've ever seen this species here, they are less than annual and often not twitchable.

I haven't seen as many different ducks as I was hoping, for example no diving ducks. But following on from Mike's flock of 20 Pintail (mostly males) that flew in off the sea late on Monday, on Tuesday morning at least three were still on the river. Pity the whole flock didn't stay though - would have been a great sight!

Today the two Ringed Plover and Greenshank were still present, joined by ten Dunlin and later in the day, an impressive flock of 184 Golden Plover feeding with Lapwing opposite Stedcombe Vale.  Jack Snipe and Grey Plover have also been seen on the Axe today, and am sure there's more out there to find. The Marsh Harrier is also still around.

Golden Plover and Lapwing


Back to passerines and although there have been more Redwing, Fieldfare and Meadow Pipits about, I've not noticed any major movements yet like the 2010 cold snap.

I'll finish this post with a snap I took this morning of a Fox at Lower Bruckland Ponds. It had curled itself up on the sheltered side of a small mound, with the sun shining upon it. He/she looked absolutely gorgeous and in really good condition...


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